Action Man: Robot Atak
Action Man: Robot Atak is a 2004 direct-to-DVD CGI animated film based on the Hasbro toy line, Action Man. The film was produced by Arcana Digital and directed by John Moffett, Steven Burch and Chris Woods. Released to tie-in with the line of Action Man toys released in 2004, Robot Atak was the first in a trilogy of direct-to-video films and was followed by a sequel in 2005, Action Man: X Missions - The Movie.
The world's leading toxins specialist, Professor Moran, is kidnapped by a villain named No-Face while in disguise as Action Man in order to frame him for the kidnapping. No-Face intends to force Moran to make him a mind control gas. Action Man and Action Force become wanted criminals and their base becomes surrounded by the authorities. No-Face takes Moran to Island X, where he reveals that he has constructed an army of 'X-Robots' which begin terrorising cities across the world. No Face has also began rebuilding Dr. X and brings him back to life as he was previously defeated by Action Man. Action Force escape their base with some of their equipment and vehicles and go on the run whilst battling X-Robots along the way. In one instance, Action Man places a tracker on an X-tank and tracks the robot's location to Island X. Action Force make their way there and later find out about Dr. X and No Face's plan to turn the world's population into their slaves using Moran's mind control gas. After several confrontations and battles, the evil plan is thwarted and the base is destroyed thanks to Flynt redirecting the missiles containing the gas to their launch point. Action Force leave with Moran, though they do not realise that Dr. X and No-Face have survived the explosion.
Why It Sucks
- Ugly and cheap-looking CG animation, even from a direct to video film made in 2004. Antz, an animated film from 1998, has superior animation over this.
- Laughably dreadful voice acting and dialogue, especially from Steven Berkoff as Dr. X and Pieree Maubouche as No-Face.
- The story is incredibly generic, cliche, and lacks any suspense.
- Very cheesy music that does not fit the tone of the film at all and sounds like a poor attempt to mimic James Bond.
- Poor writing. Action Man, Redwolf and Flynt initially can't figure out who's behind the army of robots attacking the world, even though the robots in question all resemble Dr. X. One would think it would be blatantly obvious to them who's behind it all because of that.
- Bad pacing. Despite running at 45 minutes, the movie feels like it takes forever.
- The fight scenes lack any tension, since Action Man and his two allies, Flynt and Red-Wolf, fight through Dr. X's hordes of robots without any struggle, making the movie even more predictable.
- Furthermore, the fight scenes are also very campy, cartoonish and unintentionally funny, instead of bad-ass.
- Flynt and Redwolf are both very unmemorable, bland characters. The former is a stereotypical wise-cracking Australian, while the latter is a Native-American who has next to no personality.
- Unlike the series from the early 2000s, where Dr. X was an interesting, calculating villain who was also quite menacing, here he has been dumbed down into a laughably bad, incompetent, cartoon stereotype of a villain who spews dialogue that is so cringe-worthy and embarrassing to listen to that he puts Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr Freeze to shame. Additionally, Steven Berkoff's performance as Dr. X is laughably bad, and for some reason, he makes Dr. X talk like one of the Daleks from Doctor Who.
- And his new henchman, No-Face, isn't any better either. His appearance is a blatant ripoff of Darkman, and his role as a master of disguise by wearing different masks is also copied from the Marvel comics villain known as Chameleon (who also acts as a master of disguise by wearing different masks). And like Dr. X, No-Face spews laughably cheesy dialogue that makes it difficult to take him seriously as a villain. He's also not very smart, since he gets annoyed at one of Dr. X's robots for only being able to say "No-face commands! This unit obeys!", even though No-Face was the one who programmed them.
- Lame attempts at humor. When Professor Moran asks No-Face what Dr. X robots are for, No-Face makes an unfunny joke about his "smelly socks".
- The way "Attack" is spelled wrongly as it says "Atak" in the title is clearly a very stupid attempt at trying to look hip and cool.
- This movie is even worse when you compare it to the otherwise excellent Action Man TV series from 2000, which had good voice acting and animation, great and suspenseful writing and well developed plot-lines and characters, it actually felt like it was created by someone who wanted to make something good out of the Action Man franchise, Action Man: Robot Atak, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of that, and feels like it was written by someone who just wanted to make a quick cash-in more than anything.
- It is possible to enjoy this film ironically. If you like movies that are So Bad They're Good, then this is the perfect film to watch thanks to its cheesy writing, dialogue and voice acting.
- Dr. X's design does look pretty cool (although the mutton chop beard looks unfitting for a mad scientist).
- Jesse Spencer's performance as Flynt is actually pretty decent.
- The only part of the movie that is actually well animated are the facial animations, and the voice acting, in spite of how dreadful it is, at-least matches the mouth movements, unlike certain other CGI movies that have out of sync voice acting and stiff facial animation.
Robot Atak was followed by two sequels, the first of which, Action Man: X-Missions - the Movie, was produced by Paramount Pictures and released commercially to DVD and VHS in 2005. The film continued the story begun in Robot Atak and featured the central cast reprising their roles, whilst also featuring the film debut of Professor Gangrene, a recurring antagonist in the Action Man comic book and TV series. X-Missions also re-used several CGI character models from the direct-to-DVD film G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom, itself also based on a Hasbro toy property.
The third and final film in the trilogy, Action Man: X-Missions - Code Gangrene, was only released in Mexico as a tie-in with an exclusive toy line. Thus, the third film is only available in Spanish.